One of the shameful hallmarks of a dictatorship is the restriction of movement — telling citizens or groups they cannot travel or relocate freely.
We are now witnessing a shocking example of that dictatorial practice at the hands of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is insisting that a major U.S. employer may not move some of its operations from one state to another because to do so might somehow violate workers' rights.
The case in point involves famed aircraft manufacturer Boeing, which is building a second assembly line for its new 787 jetliners in South Carolina. That's a no-no, says the NLRB.
Huh? A federal government agency which is supposed to monitor relations between employers and their employees to ensure fairness is taking into its hands the power to say which manufacturer may or may not relocate its facilities on what it sees as the basis of good business practice.
Boeing, whose aircraft have helped secure the liberty and safety of Americans in countless wars, wants to move some of its facilities from the state of Washington to South Carolina which happens to have a so-called right-to-work law, which permits employees of companies with facilities in the state to choose whether or not to join a union.
Big labor hates that kind of law. Big labor insists that employees, like slaves, must either be forced to join a union or have dues extracted from their paychecks, even if they are unwilling to part with a segment of their pay used to finance union's leftist political activities which they often oppose.
The NLRB has filed a complaint against Boeing, a firm headquartered in Chicago, for daring to choose where they may locate one of their plants. In this case, Boeing is being told it cannot make the move on the specious grounds that the move constitutes an unfair labor practice.
The unfair labor practice? South Carolina has a state right-to-work law, which ensures employees the right to either join a union or not to join a union as they see fit. Imagine that, a law that allows a worker to choose whether or not to join a union!
That NLRB decision has drawn fire from South Carolina's gutsy Gov. Nikki Haley, who defiantly told the agency, "We absolutely will not allow them to bully our businesses or mess with our employees. As governor, I absolutely will not stand for it."
As Teddy Roosevelt would have said, "Bully for her."
Also angry is U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who rightly said the NLRB's request for a court order that would force Boeing to build the assembly line in Washington shouldn't be taken seriously.
"Boeing came here because it was a darn good deal for Boeing and a great deal for South Carolina," Graham said. "Boeing is going to stay here. They are going nowhere, just like this complaint, eventually, will go nowhere."
Graham added that he plans to work with other members of Congress to make sure Congress knows about what he called "this outrageous decision by the NLRB — unelected bureaucrats that have put in motion a precedent that will destroy American businesses."
He's right. When a federal agency takes it into its grubby hands to dictate where a firm may locate some of its facilities America stands at the dividing line between freedom and tyranny.
The NLRB complaint alleges Boeing decided to build the plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, because it had concerns about strikes by unionized workers in the state of Washington. It appears that the NLRB has acquired the ability to read minds, at least those of Boeing officials.
Sen. Graham said the agency's request for a court order forcing the Boeing to build the planes in Washington shouldn't be taken seriously. He added that he will work with other lawmakers to make sure Congress knows about what he called "this outrageous decision by the NLRB — unelected bureaucrats that have put in motion a precedent that will destroy American businesses."
He described the complaint as being nothing less than a proposal to give unions veto power over decisions by businesses to locate their facilities in right-to-work states.
Boeing has said it will fight, because the complaint departs from precedents established by the NLRB and the Supreme Court.
U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., expressed amazement at the NLRB's actions.
"This means inside our own government is union thugs trying to bully and intimidate," DeMint said. "The signal they're trying to send to any company in America is if you move to a right-to-work state, they're going to make it painful for you."
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of "The New Reagan Revolution" (St. Martin's Press, 2011). He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his website at www.reagan.com
© Mike Reagan